President Obama will seek an extra $1.1 billion to pay for drug treatment for people addicted to opioid medications and heroin, which the White House says kills more people than automobile crashes, officials said Tuesday.
The extra money will be included in the upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget request. Prescription opiods – which are painkillers – and heroin are closely linked. Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough to give every American adult a bottle of pills, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many believe people addicted to prescription painkillers are turning to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to get after government crackdowns on prescription drug abuse. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013, CDC says
Michael Botticelli, the White House’s director of national drug control policy, defended the administration’s efforts to combat drug abuse, noting that “while we have seen dramatic increases, we have begun to see signs of progress.” He cited reductions in prescription drug abuse among young people and adults and some “leveling off” in the increase in heroin deaths.